Thanks to the efforts of Jacci Humble and the rest of the ISNA board, this year's convention was a huge success.
The day opened with an early morning oatmeal bar breakfast, some much needed coffee and a chance to meet and talk to our vendors.
After a brief welcome ISNA's President, Samantha Tyler-Blood, introduced our theme, InspiRN. Find what inspires you to be a nurse and become the best version of yourself.
One more break and it was time for our final speaker. Our keynote speaker, Caroline Porter Thomas. Caroline came into a nursing career to find something with meaning. Caroline was a successful business woman at a very young age but she felt like something was missing. She found her way onto the path of nursing. She was not an "A" student through school and although her teachers had little faith, her father saw massive potential in his daughter. It wasn't easy, for her. She struggled with classes she was not prepared for but she learned how to study and she refused to give up. Her power was in her "why". All of our stories have a why. We all want to be a nurse for a different reason, and that why is our power. She encouraged us each to figure out our "why" use it to empower us. She now helps others learn to study through her books and her videos. She believes that to be affective we need to align our spirit, mind, and body. After a motivational speak about empowerment and perseverance, Caroline lead us through an exercise to help us visualize a life of success. She said the difference between people who are successful and the rest of the people is long term vision, and the exercise was meant to help us gain that vision. We first pictured our lives unrealized, as failures. Then our focus changed to see success. Caroline walked us through the exercise as we saw what potential we held, we saw our lives exactly as we would like them. We walked through how we got there, what we had done to succeed, and we ended the session feeling empowered and alive.
The convention ended with questions and answers from our keynote speaker, book signings, and pictures. Our numbers were few but for those who came the convention was a complete success. There was lots of learning and plenty of fun. At least in my opinion and I would dare say many others it was worth the time spent there.
To see pictures of the event, click on the Students button above.
There was another break, a delicious lunch (shout out to those in charge of the food it was amazing), and some more time with vendors. Then we had a chance to ask a panel of experts questions about continuing education. Questions were answered concerning an advancement into the MSN, DNP and PhD programs. Students were encouraged to research their prospective school. Find the school that fits the best what you are looking for. They encouraged the students to learn about the process before jumping in. It's an investment so make sure you understand everything you can before you make a decision. Read about the application process, ask questions and take your time and make sure everything is right. When you fill out the admission essay know what they school is looking for. Often they are looking for leadership skills and they want to know that you have independent decision making skills. The biggest take away from it all is, research, and if you don't understand something, ASK questions.
Our first speaker was Coventry Jankowski, NSNA's Vice President. As she stood she encouraged all of use to grow beyond our comfort zone and try things that make us nervous. For Coventry it was speaking at the conference, but she was grateful for the opportunity to grow and she did an excellent job encouraging that same growth in all of us. She encouraged us to be open, be authentic, and be brave enough to make a mistake. She told us of her story, what inspired her to be a nurse and encouraged us to share our story with others. Our stories have power to inspire. The struggle of the nursing student is real, but we are not alone. We are all in it together, and we are the future of nursing with the power to inspire and create change. She encouraged everyone to join NSNA and benefit from the collective experience and knowledge of a nation full of powerful nursing students.
After a break and some more time to meet with vendors a representative from KAPLAN addressed the attendees to dispel rumors about the NCLEX and offer some valuable advice. The purpose of the NCLEX is not to make sure you know everything; it's there to make sure that you know enough to be safe. It's to find out if you know what an entry-level nurse needs to know, and it's used to find out if you are minimally competent. Our speaker was very encouraging. Although it's easier said than done he said, don't panic. There are several area's of focus on the test if, for instance, you are not good at pharmacology you can still pass the test if you are sufficiently strong in the other areas.
He asked us what rumors we'd heard so he could help distinguish fact from fiction. Although some of us may have heard that there are more pharmacology questions than there were before, he assured us that is not true. In fact, the test has not changed since 2013. It is true that all drug names are generic on the test although there is a chance that you might get a question with both generic and brand names simply because in their 10,000+ bank of questions they may have missed one. There was a rumor that NCLEX has more choose all that apply question than before. Again he assured us that this is also not true and said if you do happen to experience a large amount of select all that apply it's probably a good sign. It most likely means you are doing really well and the computer has to pick the harder questions in order to find out what you know. If you struggle with a certain topic, contrary to what some have heard, the test will not focus in on that topic. NCLEX advise was valuable and if you have the chance to join in a KAPLAN prep course I would strongly encourage you to do so. I have only included a small amount of what was covered here. If you want to know more, visit the NCLEX section under the Tips button above. (Coming Soon)